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"France has neither winter nor summer nor morals. Apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country. France has usually been governed by prostitutes." Mark Twain.


18 Mar 1314 Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, is burned at the stake during the final purge of the Templars in France. Among the things de Molay admitted to the Inquisitor panel (though possibly coerced) were the obligation of Templars to deny Christ when they joined, and a sacrament that involved spitting on a crucifix.
1 Aug 1589 King Henri III of France is assassinated by a crazy Jacobin monk. Among his crimes are opposing the Catholic League, and his love of... handsome young men.
2 Jun 1740 Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade is born at Condé palace in Paris.
3 Jun 1785 France surrenders.
14 Jul 1789 A mob of 20,000 people storms Bastille Prison in Paris, killing its personnel and freeing all seven prisoners incarcerated therein: four forgers, an accomplice to murder, a nobleman jailed for incest, and an insane Irishman. The warden is decapitated and his head carried around on a pike. So begins the French Revolution.
26 Feb 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte slips past guards and escapes from his exile on the island of Elba, returning to France meeting very little resistance. One Hundred Days of rule follow, culminating in his defeat at Waterloo.
18 Jun 1815 Waterloo.
28 Jan 1871 France surrenders.
21 May 1871 Government troops invade the Paris Commune and engage its residents in street fighting. By the close of "Bloody Week" some 20,000 communards have been massascred and 38,000 arrested.
23 Dec 1888 After an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh takes a razor and removes a portion of his left ear. Their quarrel regarded the prostitutes in Arles who seemed to prefer Gauguin over Van Gogh; the painter delivered his ear to one Rachel, who preferred Van Gogh. She fainted.
22 Jun 1940 France surrenders.
7 May 1954 France surrenders Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam.
17 Oct 1961 Between 50 and 200 unarmed Algerian muslims are massacred by Paris police during an FLN demonstration. Dozens more are murdered in the courtyard of the main police headquarters. At the time, the De Gaulle government was unstable and trying to hold onto its African colonies, thus the massacre was not widely reported.
3 Jul 1971 Jim Morrison is found dead of an apparent heart attack in his Paris apartment bathtub. That's what he wants us to think, anyway.
1989 "The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know." P.J O'Rourke
2 Jul 1998 The eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which has burned continuously since 1921 to commemorate the dead of World War I, is extinguished by an intoxicated soccer fan with his beer-enriched urine. Mexican national Rodrigo Rafael Ortega is arrested and charged with public drunkenness and offending the dead.
12 Aug 1999 In Millau, France, Jose Bove uses tractors to tear a portion of the roof off a McDonald's under construction. He also paints the slogan: "McDo Dehors, Gardons le Roquefort"—McDonald's Get Out, Let's Keep the Roquefort. (It rhymes in French.)
19 Apr 2000 A bomb explodes at a McDonald's in Dinan, France. One employee is killed by the blast.
24 Feb 2001 In Paris, protesters hurl stink bombs at 20 McDonald's restaurants.
20 May 2002 "First, they [the French] think I'm an intellectual because of my glasses. Second, they think I'm an artist because my films lose money. Neither one is true." Woody Allen, San Francisco Chronicle.
7 Nov 2002 A McDonald's under construction in Voreppe, France suspiciously burns down less than a month prior to its grand opening.
Aug 2003 A heatwave hits France, scandalously killing 13,600 people.

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